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Waxahachie, Texas- October 22, 20150 The Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) men’s basketball team has been picked to win the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) in the annual pre-season coaches’ poll.  Last season the Lions finished fourth place in the SAC.

Coach Donnie Bostwick is flattered by this year’s poll, although he isn’t putting much stake in it, “I am not big on preseason polls.   I can promise you this; in the SAC any of the 10 teams could make a run at Kansas City .  I truly believe picking the top four is virtually impossible.”

Part of the vote of confidence could come from the fact SAGU returns three starters from last season. Rishaad Alexander , Jason Gentry and Emmanuel Adoyi will all be back to lead the team.  Last year Alexander averaged nearly 14 points per game, 4.7 assists per game and only had 38 turnovers all season.  Bostwick credits Alexander’s hard work, “I love his unselfish nature and leadership skills. He has a great spirit about him and is a very hard worker.”

Gentry averaged 11 points per game, four rebounds per game and 3.3 assists per game last season.  He led the Lions with 51 three pointers last season at a solid 34 percent.  Bostwick says Gentry has put in a ton of time into preseason and is shooting better than he has ever seen him.

Adoyi is a returning forward for the Lions.  Adoyi is SAGU’s leading rebounder, averaging 6.5 rebounds per game last season.  He returns as the anchor for the defense, but Bostwick believes some people might be surprised by his impact on offense this season, “He has worked hard on his all-around offensive game. His ability to shoot the three point shot really allows us to stretch the opponent’s defense.”

The Lions will also return Andrew Erskine , Remington Mitchell , Micah Gentry and Josh Swearingin .  Key newcomers to watch will be guards Keyunta Watkins and Elbert Lawrence along with forward’s Tyler Pate , Isaak Rowe , Markey Young and Aaron Embry .

According to Bostwick, Watkins style play is reminiscent of a top SAGU player from years past, “Keyunta is a Rambo-like guard who can impact a game in every way possible.  He can really score the basketball, but is also a great passer.”

“Isaak is one of the most talented freshmen we have had at SAGU,” says Bostwick, “He will play big minutes as a freshman and Lion fans are going to really enjoy watching him the next few years. He is a similar athlete to former Lion Duce Ward, who was a big part of the 2013 National Runner-Up Team.”

Despite many new players, Bostwick doesn’t expect SAGU’s style of play to be different to the past seasons, “Defense and defensive rebounding will lead to fast breaks, 3’s, and offensive rebounding.  We hope to outwork our opponents.  By using depth and a nice balance of experience and youth, I believe we have a chance to compete for a trip back to Kansas City.”

For the past three years SAGU has made it to the NAIA National Championship in Kansas City.  In 2013 they were the National Runners-Up and last year they were knocked out in the first round by Tennessee Martin.  The 2014-2015 SAGU Lions ended the season 22-11 and finished fourth in the SAC.

SAGU was picked to finish first in the SAC with 96 points in the vote.  Mid-America Christian, the regular-season champion, and Wayland Baptist, the SAC tournament champion, each polled 79 points to share second place.  Both schools are under the direction of new head coaches, Josh Gamblin at MACU; and Ty Harrelson at WBU.

The Lions kick off the 2015-2016 season when they host Southwestern Adventist University for the annual Texas Snowstorm on Tuesday, October 27, 2015. Game-time is at 7:00pm.

About SAGU:

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.
Contact: Natalie Tristan, SAGU SID, [email protected]

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